Delegitimizing Government Power
Al Gore excoriates us on how we need to restrict our wasteful lifestyles and limit our "carbon footprint" while flying around the world in private jets, using orders of magnitude more energy than any of us little people.
Barrack Obama attacks the "fat cats" and nags us for not being generous enough – requiring the government to spread the wealth around – while making millions of dollars, giving little to charity, and traveling on exorbitant vacations.
Leftist politicians claim that they support the "99 percent" crowd of the Occupy Wall Street protests, though they personally tend to be among the wealthiest and the most involved in the kind of fascist crony capitalism that is most oppressive to regular citizens.
These are all examples of world-class hypocrites. They say one thing and do another. They go around telling everybody else how to live while they themselves indulge their own appetites.
People in positions of power are very susceptible to behaving in ways that contradict their own public dictates. And the more legitimate they believe their power to be, the more brazenly they will do what they tell others not to do. These are the findings of a study by Lammers, Stapel and Galinsky, "Power Increases Hypocrisy: Moralizing in Reasoning, Immorality in Behavior."
But we already knew this. Lord Acton told us that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" while Sophocles and Homer, among other ancient Greek writers, described how hubris can play out among the powerful.
The interesting point from this study is that it showed that the less the powerful judge their power as legitimate, the less likely they are to engage in hypocrisy. In other words, if you want to encourage powerful people to live with greater integrity – to live more congruently with what they say, and presumably to stop nagging us and coercing us to live as they will not – then limit their sense of entitlement to their power.
Our founders understood this. George Washington set the example of retiring as president after two terms, demonstrating the limits to that office's power. These are temporary positions of citizen legislators, and that makes their legitimacy intrinsically fragile – as it should be.
This concept has been lost on politicians of both sides; I think we need to re-assert this attitude. Our representatives, senators, presidents and everybody else who works in government from bureaucrats to public union workers are there at our pleasure. They derive their powers and paychecks from the consent of the governed – that's us.
This means that they don't get to become comfortable in their power and paychecks, ever. It means that politicians should never be allowed to lose sight that their power is on loan to them from us; any attempt to pretend otherwise is illegitimate.
If we don't remind them of this continually most of them will abuse the power they believe they have. You can bet on it; it's human nature. (Note that I say most of them. We are not passive victims of our nature but it takes courage and self-awareness to counter it. Some people do succeed in this. Unfortunately, we cannot expect such strength of character from a majority of people, though we can and should honor it when we see it.)
I was thinking about this one day while driving down Highway 101 in California. Along the way, I noticed at least one sign dedicating something or other to some politician.
Later, when I was driving through the campus at U.C. Santa Barbara, I saw a couple of buildings named after people. These people donated their own money to make these buildings happen. Their names belong on those buildings because they did something personally to create those buildings.
But a senator or a congressman takes someone else's money and gives it to somebody they like. This is not a legitimate use of power. This is bribery and manipulation, and it should be called what it is.
There's a lot of talk about eliminating earmarks because of the waste of taxpayer money. But there's another facet to earmarks that we should also look at: When taxpayer-funded projects are named after the politicians who finagle the money for them, we give them something that we should not.
Naming projects, buildings, bridges and other things built or provided with our money is one of the ways that powerful politicians cement their own sense of legitimacy. The more things that politicians have named after them, the more those politicians see themselves become part of history – and the more important they can believe that they are.
Thus you get $1,000,000 for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center; $2,000,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, the Charles Rangel Library at the City College of New York, and the Rangel Conference Center.
You get the 30 or so self-named projects from Senator Robert Byrd: the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, the Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center, the Robert C. Byrd Clinic at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, the Robert C. Byrd High School, the Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park and several roads and highways.
And you get the $150,000,000 John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania together with the John P. Murtha Technology Center and the United States Navy ship the USS John P. Murtha.
We should never, ever allow something to be named for a government employee, unless they use their own money as a private citizen to make it happen – just like any other citizen could.
Honor those who hold to the Constitution, who exhibit the strength of character to live with integrity regardless of the temptations of power and who exhibit courage in preserving our republic. But don't let anyone get too comfortable holding the reins that we hand to them.
This applies not just to federal officials but at every level of government, down to the state auditor, the county recorder, the high school principal. If you're working for the government in a position of power, your position should be tentative. You should have to live with a certain level of anxiety about your position, so that you never settle into it completely.
Not just because we want to save money, cut spending and lower taxes but because power tends to corrupt. And when people come to believe that their power over us is more than just a temporary stewardship that we grant to them, we get just what we have right now: irresponsible, unaccountable and self-righteous leaders who are way too impressed with themselves.
Homer and Sophocles could see this coming millennia away. Studies such as that by Lammers, Stapel and Galinsky and endless examples of entitled, power grabbing politicians remind us of it today. Let's remember to dampen the flames of arrogance and hubris as part of our duty as citizens.
Joel F. Wade, Ph.D. is the author of Mastering Happiness.
Posted by rossbcan on 03/01/12 06:33 AM
In conclusion (taking the liberty to extrapolate):
E: Can I ask about what you said on the tele?
E: Did you mean it?
V: Every word.
E: You really think that blowing up the parliament is going to make this country a better place.
V: There is no certainty only opportunity.
E: I think that you can be pretty certain that if anyone does show up Creedy will black bag every one of them.
V: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.
Evey: And you're going to make that happen by blowing up a building?
V: The building is a symbol, as is the act of destroying it. Symbols are given power by people. Alone, a symbol is meaningless, but with enough people, blowing up a building can change the world.
Evey: I wish I could believe that was possible.
Not recommending blowing up anything / one. Just KNOW what is real, thereby depriving symbols of their power.
Virtually anyone, in private industry who trades servitude (terms of employment association) for a salary will be rightly fired and, perhaps criminally charged should they abuse their position to defraud their employees of resources and act contrary to their job function.
... and, out public employees, judiciary included are different, how?
The answer lies in lying symbology replacing REALITY.
Posted by rossbcan on 03/01/12 06:49 AM
@DB: please fix typo, "... and, out" to "... and, our", + nuke this comment.
Posted by Merridth80 on 03/01/12 07:34 AM
I am sure that there are many people out there who feel as you and I do!
But the problem is people like harry reid, nancy pelosie, barry soetoro, who are so corrupt that they took advantage of loopholes to raise their own salaries, and align the sieu to contrive voting machines for their own purposes.
How do we stop them?????
Posted by dotti on 03/01/12 08:07 AM
Re: "How do we stop them?"
Ahhhhhh. Therein lies the problem.
I don't think there's any way to stop "them" other than a total collapse of the economy/socio-political organization or violent revolution. I do not relish the thought of either, but would definitely prefer the former over the latter.
As long as the MSM is owned and controlled by the Power Elite, there is no way for the Tea Party or Occupy Wallstreet or any other group to facilitate an appreciable change.
How long did it take for the MSM to announce that Rick Santorum won Iowa? Might that not have had a major effect on his campaign. Santorum was not my candidate of choice, but with the MSM suppression of Ron Paul, he might have looked pretty good. I personally think that Mit Romney is more of the same--which is why the MSM is promoting him as the heir apparent to the highly successful John McCain as Republican nominee.
I am hoping that the Internet Reformation may surprise me with a turnaround--but it is only a hope. I think things have gone too far for us to stop them. I said above that I did not relish an economic collapse, but will admit that I think that it is the only way to overcome the Power Elite. And that will only be temporary until they can re-assert their power. We are talking intergenerational evil here, along with unimaginable wealth and influence.
If the "80" represents the year you were born, you are very young to have attained the wisdom that you have shown here at DB.
Thanks for your posts and regards...
Posted by rossbcan on 03/01/12 08:31 AM
Re: "How do we stop them?"
Ahhhhhh. Therein lies the problem.
Just don't empower them by providing resources thus becoming complicit in their crimes and, acting against your own survival interests. As predators / parasites, they have no merit in the game of life and are unfit to survive by virtue of refusing to adapt to the non-negotiable need to survive of their prey, upon which their survival depends.
Withdraw "consent of the governed" and, when they push, defend yourself in as peaceful manner as you can that makes it unequivically clear who is initiating aggression. This is what they FEAR MOST, being put into the position that it is clear who is disturbing the peace demanded by the majority and, a basic prequisite for civilization.
Ghandi, based on the truths of Henry Thoreau successfully evicted predators from India. The "choices" available to predators to pervail were and are unacceptable to the general public. And, that was within an environment of controlled media, and, along came the internet...
a repulic, if YOU can keep it...
Posted by dotti on 03/01/12 10:55 AM
Bill, I appreciate your views, and Ghandi is probably a very good example of what we would like to happen.
I can't explain why I think that we cannot overcome the effect of the controlled media when Ghandi did. Perhaps, the people of India REALIZED that they were oppressed, regardless of what the controlled media told them. I'm afraid that the US general public, perhaps the masses of the world, choose--wittingly or unwittingly--to believe that they are living in a democracy/republic. They believe that they can "prosper" in the current environment and have no concept that the Power Elite are using their labor for their own fulfillment.
I draw little from the society in which I live; I supply little or no support to the governing bodies, whether politic or economic. I do consistently give to my church and sometimes to those in need. Other than this, I consider myself to be completely powerless. It does not matter whether I ever vote again for the rest of my life. Any candidate not "approved" (groomed) by the Power Elite will not make it through the minefield that is the media/American public.
What, exactly, do you propose that I--as one individual--do that will have any effect whatsoever on the trajectory of current events?
I am not empowering "them"--we are retired and get by on very little. No debt. Small, well-insulated space to heat/cool. Growing more and more of our own food. (Still no chickens!) What more can I do? What will make any difference to "them"? Please tell me!!!
One observation somewhat aside, but I think related. At the grocery store yesterday, I was more aware than ever of aisle after aisle of food that is just stuffed full of sugar. Maybe we have advanced from "bread and circuses" to "sugar and fast food" as a society.
We are NO LONGER a republic. The new term that I have heard is "state capitalism"--innocuous sounding, isn't it! Sounds much nicer than fascism. Is it different? Hmmmmmm.
Bill, thanks for your ever-hopeful resistance to the Power Elite. At times I am actually able to believe that "we" have a chance against "them".
Did you see how they smashed down gold and silver--AGAIN, and again, and again.
Posted by gabe on 03/01/12 11:01 AM
Ingo has opened my eyes. Watch the new Ron Paul ad below:
Click to view link
to a kool aid drinker it looks like Ron Paul is attacking all three of the remaining republican opponents... but Ingo's conspiracy theory is starting to make things clearer for me. Ron Paul attacks the two main opponents of the central banking meme(Gingrich and Santorum)... while taking it easy on Romney by only superficially attacking him after going after the other two guys harder. It is also suspicious that Ron Paul is rarely attacking Herman Cain?!
Before this Paul had never mentioned Romney(or not so often)... but after Ingo pointed this out, Ron Paul has decided to try and fool us by pretending to attack Romney. If only people could see what Gingrich,Santorum and Ingo see so clearly... it is the perfect conspiracy. Have jews and jesuits infiltrate the catholic stronghold of Auburn Alabama then find someone to pretend to be anti-central banker and anti-drug war and decentralist for 40 years... then have them attack the real proponents of individual freedom like Santorum and Gingrich.
Posted by chad2 on 03/01/12 11:12 AM
Article after article is written on these ideals. And there it is again, the fundamental issue never talked about: Sin. Jesus Christ was the greatest leader! He had nothing! A bruised reed He would not brake! He looked like a normal person, but His words were from the Kingdom of God. And he changed the world! By His death and reserection. Article after article the intellictuals speak of the problem of sin, but never offer the solution. I find it odd. Like the american system was great due to man's logic... Only when we as a people repent of the sin and call upon Jesus are we CHANGED. And unless you have been CHANGED in this manner you cannot comprehend it! So, first get changed and then comment on it. Once a people is changed only then will there be a society that can create positive TRUTH based solutions. America was built on this and you need to understand that this was the source of her success, but again, only when you've exerienced the change can you understand as these are spiritual things I'm speaking of. I have experienced the change. I'm not saying i'm perfect, but I'm better, better for society and this is the right path. Each day it gets better... So I'll be watching and I'll know you have been changed when I see your article titled: "We need Jesus! Why didn't I just accept it years ago!"
Posted by rossbcan on 03/01/12 11:19 AM
I should have added: "they" are stopping themselves. The deprivation of resources part only hastens the inevitable, for those who "cannot wait" and, feel the need to provide elites with "assisted suicide".
We, the people don't really have to do anything, apart from natural reaction to carrots and sticks:
carrots: entitlements for votes, if you are morally capable, grab all you can, this hastens collapse. And, when it happens, YOU are toast by the habit (addiction) of dependency.
sticks: punished, enslaved for productivity - don't be, keep P=1 (see link)
and then, the grim reaper of "Mathematics of Rule" will determine the inevitable consequences:
Click to view link
This is the peaceful, minimal risk way to overcome a century+ of bullying and incremental gain (lack of public blowback, vigilence) for predators such as no property rights, worthless currency (them, decreeing their wealth, debasing ours), democratic outcome legitimate despite vote fraud and fraudulent, lying "political promises", ad-inifinitum.
Should enough grow cohones, well, a majority demand for justice, backed up by willingness to act can resolve our woes immediately.
Justice Defined: We are all free to profit or suffer and learn (adapt to excellence) by facing the consequences of our OWN choices. Injustice is to be forced to suffer the consequences of choices of unaccountable (irresponsible) others..
"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class." ~ Lord Acton
... a "threat" to elites that OWS, demanding faux "fairness of entitlements" (and survival of those who make a hefty redistribution commission by providing same) appears devised to pre-empt.
Posted by speedygonzales on 03/01/12 11:22 AM
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships. Sociologist Max Weber developed a tripartite classification of authority; the cult of personality holds parallels with what Weber defined as "charismatic authority". A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.
2B honest with Mr Wade, he just scratched top of the problem. Deeper look is that we "worship" common criminals. Ye all know about World wars deceptions: Lusitania, Pearl Harbor. How many Roosevelt streets did ye see? Dulles airport. GW Bush parkway in Texas, Al Gore highway in Tennessee.
Whatsoever. There always been public places named after famous people. But if they really did not founded it, the rule is after death. After some time goes and historians and public swallow their era.
In US is really just cult of personality. Anyone who serve "money masters" is hero if he follow puppet master. They give 'em street, building, airport name.
Apropo. Did ye ever walk on Louis McFadden street? Ezra Pound street?
Posted by dotti on 03/01/12 12:18 PM
Bill, It seems that most of your reply was what I would consider--rightly or wrongly--platitudes. Everything you say may be factual. But none of it matters except for one sentence:
Bill: "Should enough grow cohones, well, a majority demand for justice, backed up by willingness to act can resolve our woes immediately."
It is not a matter of "cohones", i.e., courage. Our education system has very successfully trained several generations to be "peaceful". We are duped into thinking that we are a democracy--or a republic, it doesn't matter which--making us feel that we are supposed to "get along" and accept what the majority decrees through the vote. Minorities are protected to the extent that the majority is debased.
The few who foment a violent revolution--or any sort of revolutionary activity, peaceful or not (i.e., David Koresh) are either marginalized or outright killed. Resistance of any sort is met by overwhelming force. These people have no compunction about murder.
Most of us here are a bit careful about posting anything that would even suggest support for anything that would be effective against the Power Elite. Big Brother IS watching. Think about it.
I ask again that you focus your post on what I--or anyone like me--could do to cast off the repression that has been foisted upon us by the Power Elite through their minions in politics, banking, education, MSM.
Consider this a challenge.
Thanks for your posts!
Posted by rossbcan on 03/01/12 12:50 PM
I think I have provided enough info. The beauty of peaceful dissent is: you don't have to tell anyone what you are doing and, planetary economic facts indicate the productive have already shrugged. It is working.
Elites will have to "step back", unless their end game is genocide of a large portion of humanity. If this is the case, we will have to "throw ourselves into the gears of the machine", to stop those "beyond reason".
I think "slipping the dogs of war" is getting significant blowback from within the military who dont't particularly want their power and perks "blown up", as elite mercenaries, clearly acting in opposition to their mandate, oaths and personal survival.
My "platitudes" are intended to overcome hoplessness, prove that non-violent (and legal) methods of dissent do exist. Choose to follow the lead out of self-interest, or not.
I think the reason you may be unsatisfied with my responses is that "the solution" is not within the faux "great leader of history" meme, advocating great deeds. We have a very large collective problem, the sum of many psychotic individuals acting in concert. It will take many sane individuals, acting in concert to overcome. After all, that is what civilization is: peaceful division of labor, in this and all matters.
Posted by dotti on 03/01/12 01:24 PM
This is the difficult part. With the PE in control of MSM, politicians, bankers, and educators, I don't know how this:
"It will take many sane individuals, acting in concert to overcome."
Thanks for trying to overcome the hopelessness. I need that. In my personal life, things are going great. But I am sad for the things that are no more.
Yees. I am unsatisfied with the response that we have so many psychotic individuals acting in concert.
Posted by Jeanna on 03/01/12 05:01 PM
People who wish to have bridges, roads, buildings, and other monuments named after them should never hold political office. All those wanting to serve civil society should have to pass an ego test. If they want public worship, they should be disqualified.
I appreciate Mr. Wade's article. I was thinking earlier today about the problem we face of the entrenched bureaucracies and political parasites that have embraced fraud, theft, extortion, and embezzlement. Everyone does it, so why not me?
This criminal mindset is rampant. They think nothing of economically destroying the middle class and the poor, which leads directly to starvation and death. So who are the violent, really?
Isn't self defense upheld in court? They are the ones committing murder.
This fraud permeating every level of government is the end result of the con we fell for called separation of church and state. I am not advocating a state religion. I am advocating Godly men and women holding office.
No civil government can stand if it is not upheld by those who recognize a higher authority and who know they will answer for their actions. Removing God from the political system leaves us open to exactly what we have. The worship of people.
Posted by laceja on 03/01/12 06:35 PM
Dottie, you are indeed correct, it is extremely dangerous to make any overt suggestions on how we could react and have a real impact, especially if one were to suggest armed revolt or refusal to pay taxes. Big brother is indeed watching!
However, there is one way, although somewhat difficult. Basically, the solution will be that more and more folks will simply refuse to participate. Many will simply leave. I know it sounds crazy to those, who live in the states, but "leaving" is a very real way to start bringing it all down, especially if you are one who contributes a lot to the pot, so to speak. You'll never know just how easy it is, until you actually do it. I left about seven years ago and haven't looked back, except to participate in forums like this one. You would be very surprised at just how much easier it is to get along, once you leave the bubble they've convinced everyone is so great. It isn't! At some point, things will get so bad, many will realize the best option is to simply refuse to play their game any longer.
If one is "retired", take your SS check and get out.
Posted by dotti on 03/02/12 07:47 AM
My husband and I are retired, but leaving the country is not an option for us because of children/grandchildren. I had wanted to go to Costa Rica, but that is not an option for me.
We have "left" in a sense in that we have a very small, but wonderful, home in the Virginia Highlands. We have zero debt and do little to "participate" in the economy. We almost never buy "new"--always preferring to purchase at thrift shops. We are expanding a 14 x 44 living area--lots of insulation--and learning gardening.
We are still trapped with all the "red tape" that simply living requires, but we have escaped the culture that says in order to be happy you always have to have more and better. We have more and better, but what we "need" is far less than what most people imagine is "necessary" to have a good, happy life.
Thanks for hanging out here!!!
Posted by howardbe on 03/02/12 10:26 AM
Joel F. Wade posts a beautiful essay and quite proper. However, he is a dreamer. Corraling congress is a pipe dream. The corrupt will always overcome the honest man and it becomes a lead pipe cinch when the honest man is as stupid as the American voter. Besides, it is too late to even make the attempt. The United States is already doomed. All that is left to do is lie down and shut our eyes. Congress already has the coffin lid, nails and hammer in hand.